Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship says it is temporarily closing all moose hunting in strategic areas north of Pine Falls and south of Bissett. The closure comes a year after licensed hunting was closed in Game Hunting Area (GHA) 26.
Moose populations have declined by almost 50 per cent in this part of the province since 2006. This temporary closure is being put in place to ensure sustainable populations into the future.
The temporary closure to all moose hunting is effective immediately in specific parts of GHA 26, which stretches from Lake Winnipeg to the Manitoba-Ontario border between the Winnipeg and Wanipigow rivers including Nopiming Provincial Park.
The closure also applies to treaty and Aboriginal rights-based hunters. The department has consulted local First Nations and Métis people to find solutions and will continue to work with Aboriginal communities and stakeholders to develop long-term plans to address low moose populations across the province.
Other measures taken to protect moose in this area include hunting regulation revisions that increase white-tailed deer bag limits, which will help reduce the transfer of fatal brainworm from deer to moose, as well as monitoring programs to help understand how wolves and bears are influencing the moose population.
In March 2011, the province announced $800,000 for a moose population recovery plan to help end the decline and restore the population to sustainable levels in both areas of the province. This included funding for:
- Wildlife surveys related to moose management such as moose and wolf population surveys;
- Incentives to local trappers to increase the harvest of wolves;
- Decommissioning roads into areas of high moose density to help limit vehicle access;
- Additional staffing resources to implement the moose recovery program and consult with First Nations and Métis people; and
- Resources for increased enforcement including three new natural resource officers.
The licensed moose hunting seasons were cancelled in the Duck Mountain and GHA 26 in 2010. Conservation closures to hunting moose by all people were implemented in the Duck Mountain and Porcupine Mountain areas of western Manitoba in July 2011.